April 2024


April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Each April, communities across the country recognize Alcohol Awareness Month to share information about the facts and consequences of alcohol use and to raise awareness about the causes and effects of a substance use disorder. SAPCA invites everyone in our community -- youth, parents, and caring adults -- to join in recognizing and participating in Alcohol Awareness Month by:

  • Joining SAPCA for the presentation of a proclamation recognizing April as Alcohol Awareness Month on April 24 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. 
  • Attending SAPCA's Spring Community Meeting on April 25 from 6-7:30 p.m. via Zoom to learn about the latest youth substance use data trends and discuss action items to address these trends. Register here to attend.
  • Checking out SAPCA's "I don't drink because..." prevention campaign. Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students created these short videos to encourage youth to be alcohol free.
  • Learning the facts and consequences of youth alcohol use, including the legal consequences of providing alcohol to people under 21.
  • Making your values clear: Talk with your children about your expectations for them to not drink alcohol.
  •  Focusing on safety at youth and adult gatherings.
  • Knowing that anyone can develop a substance use disorder -- treatment is available and recovery is possible.

Together, we can ensure that youth in Alexandria have the information and tools to make informed choices about their health and future so they can thrive today, tomorrow and in the future.

To learn about other ways to support local efforts to prevent youth substance use and misuse, contact Emma Beall at emma.beall@alexandriava.gov

Recap: Take Down Tobacco Day in Alexandria

On Monday, April 1, teams of youth and adults came together to prevent youth access to tobacco. ACHS students kicked-off this youth-led event with a press conference featuring guest speakers SAPCA Chair Allen Lomax, Assistant Chief of Police Tina Laguna, and Sheriff Sean Casey.

Following this press conference, teams of youth and adults visited 70 Alexandria retailers to promote the COUNTER ACT campaign. This statewide campaign supports merchants to comply with all federal, state, and local laws pertaining to tobacco sales to minors. The sale of tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products to persons under 21 years of age is prohibited by law.

Youth also completed retail store assessments to gain a better understanding of our community’s tobacco retail landscape and distributed information to retailers about strategies to prevent underage tobacco access. Retailers who participated in the campaign include Giant Food, Safeway, 7-Eleven, and a host of small grocery and convenience stores. All participating retail stores received a certificate in recognition of their partnership to prevent youth access to tobacco.

This event was hosted by SAPCA in collaboration with the Alexandria Police Department; the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office; the Department of Community and Human Services; the Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities; and the ACHS U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program. SAPCA is appreciative of our partners for their help kicking off this important campaign and speaking up about the importance of preventing access to alcohol by underage youth.

The JROTC program prepares high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as American citizens. Core courses include Techniques of Communications, Leadership Lab, Map Reading, History, Citizenship, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Cadet Challenge.

Community Connections: Promoting Family Resources

This spring, SAPCA collaborated with our school and community partners by promoting prevention resources in our community. Check out some of these partnership highlights:

  • On March 11, SAPCA presented Facts and Consequences to 16 students involved in Boy Scout Troop 135. Youth learned about the health, legal, and social consequences of using alcohol, e-cigarettes, marijuana, and prescription and over-the-counter medication.
  • On March 12, SAPCA delivered a training to Communities in Schools (CIS) staff to share tips for communicating with teens about difficult topics and raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. Attendees also learned about Narcan, a safe and effective antidote for opioids. Narcan is available for free at the Teen Wellness Center and the Alexandria Health Department. If given in time, Narcan can stop an opioid overdose and restore normal breathing until emergency response can arrive.
  • On March 18 and 19, SAPCA joined Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) staff and representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program to raise awareness about National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). This annual health observance aims to inspire dialogue about the science of drug use and addiction among youth. During lunch periods at ACHS King St. Campus and ACHS Minnie Howard Campus, more than 250 students participated in trivia to test their knowledge about alcohol and drug facts and win prizes. Students also learned about the City of Alexandria's Teen Text Line, a free resource teens can use to get answers to questions on health, relationships, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, violence, and gangs.

SAPCA appreciates these opportunities to connect with our community and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners to promote existing prevention efforts.

Interested in supporting outreach efforts for this April's drug take back day? Volunteers share information and distribute resources about the importance of safe medication disposal at one of the four drop-off locations. Contact Emma Beall at emma.beall@alexandriava.gov to learn more or to sign up.

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Upcoming Events & Resources

Interested in supporting outreach efforts during the community cookouts? Volunteers help share resources with youth and families while enjoying free food and fun activities. Contact Emma Beall at emma.beall@alexandriava.gov to learn more or to sign up.

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Emma Beall, MPH
SAPCA Coordinator
O: 703.746.3670 
C: 571.302.1022

Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria 

4850 Mark Center Drive

Alexandria, VA 22311